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Found 41 results

  1. You have the opportunity to help the environment by upgrading your home and going green. Doing this will also make you feel like a better person and maybe save you money. Consider doing the right thing by conserving the environment and improving your home. Insulate the House Insulating your home doesn't have to be costly since there are plenty of options out there today. Besides this, reduce your carbon footprint and save up to 30% of energy per year. Weatherstripping doors and using eco-friendly caulk for air leaks in window panes, basements and attics are just a couple of simple solutions for greener living. Save money on energy bills by keeping air in. Recycle Often You can teach your family why recycling matters by placing bins in designated areas for a more sustainable home. In addition to this, your kids will learn the value of living by ethical standards. Learn more about which items can be recycled and how to do this by visiting educational websites like Recyclebank. You can also get crafty and repurpose clothing planting pots and more to keep them from filling up landfills. Finding creative solutions to problems can be a fun way to pass the time with family. Add Native Plants Native plants can add natural beauty and value to your home. These also attract butterflies, birds, bees and others. You'll be giving animals nesting areas, shelter, food and a safe place to escape predators. Do your part in saving the earth by making positive contributions to the ecosystem and animal welfare. You might want to consider septic treatment systems that save you money and time, and are more economical to maintain. In fact, you can feel proud of yourself for investing in a genuinely beautiful home and environmental conservation. Natural Paint and Wallpaper Conventional wallpaper and ordinary paint contain synthetic materials and harmful chemicals. Keep your family healthy by choosing products made from natural ingredients. You can even purchase wallpaper made of seagrass. Consider painting the walls with certified eco-friendly or recycled paint for your safety and as a wise sustainability choice. The Global Paint for Charity will use any leftover paint donations you may want to give away for global housing rehabilitation projects. By protecting the earth's natural resources, you'll be protecting yourself, your family and your future. Besides this, feel less guilty for utilizing energy and other valuable resources excessively. Sleep with peace of mind and enjoy your home the right way.
  2. Keeping your home tidy, neat, and clean can be facilitated by removing household junk and waste routinely rather than to keep it sitting around indefinitely. However, waste can build up quickly, so you may want to line up a few tactics for reducing much of the trash that continues to accumulate on a daily basis. Recycle Many communities provide free recycle bins for household use, along with free curb pickup a couple times each month. This is a great way to help protect the environment and get rid of daily throwaways so they don’t stack up in your garage or trash can. You can also recycle old clothing and unused furniture to thrift stores or consignment shops by dropping things off on the designated days. To make some extra cash, recycle worn tires, scrap metal, and collected papers at the local recycling centers. Compost Food scraps, coffee grounds, and biodegradable organics can be used to compost a flower garden or vegetable garden in your backyard. Gather leftovers and sort them according to various composting needs. Layer them as directed in a compost guide to enhance the fertilization and productivity of your outdoor garden areas. Removal For large items you want to dispose of, like a garage full of rapidly-accumulating trash that includes containers, bottles, cans, discarded electronics, broken equipment and appliances, and just about anything else that has been stacked up or boxed for pickup, check into dumpster rental for a week or two. You might be able to share the dumpster space and cost with a neighbor. In addition to daily disposables, renting a dumpster is a great time to clean out the attic, the basement, the garage, and the shed to get rid of things you will never use again. Your home will feel much more open and accessible when you eliminate all the stuff that keeps building up and being ignored or stored in places that can be used for other things of value. Buy Less If you are tossing away too many takeout Styrofoam or plastic containers or getting rid of shoes or clothes you’ve only worn a few times, it may be time to review your budget and start making cuts. Not only will you be able to reduce spending, but you may also be able to reduce waste along with increasing available space and storage areas. No one likes unwanted waste sitting around the house. Consider these ways of reducing trash while enhancing your lifestyle as a bonus.
  3. Many homeowners believe that they have little choice about how much money they must spend on their electric bills. They think that they have limited options because of various common factors that influence energy usage, such as the size of their homes and seasonal temperatures in their geographic locations. Yet, you don’t have to settle for the amount that you see on your average bill every month. A wide variety of technologies exist that can help lower energy costs. Consider the following easy changes that you can make around your home: Lights A home’s lights are typically a huge source of power consumption. People often buy light bulbs that use too much energy and forget to shut off lights when they go to bed or away for work or vacation. You can fix both of these problems with two simple swaps: Invest in energy-efficient LED light bulbs that use less energy than CFLs. Additionally, invest in light dimmers, timer switches and sunlight sensors. Dimmers can reduce the energy needed to run LED bulbs when you turn down the lights. Timers turn off the lights at a specific preset time. Sunlight sensors automatically switch off bulbs during the day. Outlets A lot of appliances and electronics consume power even when you’re not using them because they’re designed to remain in standby mode. Some devices also have internal clocks backed up by batteries that recharge while in standby. This type of power usage is referred to as a vampire power drain or an electricity leak. To save energy and money, swap out regular surge protectors that you’ve attached to these devices with timer-style ones. Surge protectors that feature timers block access to power after so much time of non-use has passed or at a preset time of day or night. HVAC Some people change thermostat settings based on how they feel at any particular moment. Unnecessary power usage occurs when they forget to re-adjust the settings later. Multiple people in a home manually controlling the thermostat compound the problem. Also, some people use temperature estimates to set their thermostats before leaving home and later discover that the estimates were wrong. To reduce these incidents, swap out your existing thermostat with a smart home temperature-monitoring one that adjusts heating and cooling systems automatically based on both your settings and real-time outdoor temperatures. Pick a thermostat that also offers remote app access so you can make additional adjustments as needed even when you’re not at home. Windows Homeowners often waste energy on cooling costs because they invest in the wrong types of window coverings. To decrease the amount of sunlight and associated heat that enters their homes from windows, many people use curtains. Fabric can absorb heat. It can also block cool air from entering your home. Invest in better options to reflect heat away and maintain air flow. Swap out your existing window coverings with shutters that you can adjust manually or automatically with a timer. Shutters also make it possible for you to reduce electric light usage by illuminating the interior of your home with indirect sunlight. Of course, there are plenty of other less simple swaps you can make in your home to lower energy beyond the four mentioned here. For example, you might replace older appliances in the kitchen or old wiring in the walls with newer, energy-efficient options. Make a list of your ideas and start with the simple ones today. As time and your budget allows, move on to the less simple ones that can provide you with long-term energy savings.
  4. Being more eco-conscious not only will help you do your part towards sustainability but it can also save you money. Here are seven easy ways to make your home a more eco-friendly place. Mindful Water Use A truly eco-friendly home means you need to also save water as well as electricity. First, fix any plumbing leaks. Don’t keep the tap running while you shave or brush your teeth. Also, consider installing a low-flow shower-head; they can save a family of four up to 42,260 gallons of water a year. Maintain Your Cooling and Heating Systems An inefficient air conditioner or furnace can burn up a lot more energy than you realize. Make sure to keep the filters clean, and change them when necessary. For more complex maintenance, a yearly appointment with a reputable AC repair company is a wise investment towards sustainability. Switch to LED Light Bulbs Not only do energy-efficient LED bulbs use less electricity and last longer, but they’re also less likely to trigger eye strain or a headache than fluorescent bulbs. Use Organic and Natural Cleaning Products Harmful cleaning chemicals are not only bad for the environment, but they’re also bad for your health. When you wash them down the drain you’re simply flushing them into the environment and water supply. For most ordinary cleaning, natural and organic products made from vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, citric acid and bicarbonate of soda can be used effectively. Buy Recycled Products It’s a good thing to purchase recycled products whenever you can. This can be toilet paper and paper towels made from recycled paper, to shopping at thrift stores for lightly used furniture and clothing. Cook Smart It’s easy to cook smart, which contributes to an eco-friendly home. Buy organic and sustainably produced food, it’s not only good for the Earth, but it’s also good for your health. Eat more raw foods; not using the oven or stove will save you energy. And once again, eating raw food is good for your health. Avoid products with excessive plastic packaging; for example, coffee pods contribute tons of plastic waste to the environment. Switch back to a drip coffee maker. Make Your Own Compost Don’t scrape your leftovers and kitchen scraps into the trash, turn them into compost. Learn about composting, and start a backyard compost pile or get a compost bin for your yard. You can make lots of high-quality fertilizer for your garden for free.
  5. Having solar panels installed at your home is a great first step towards being more energy-efficient. It can really help to cut down on your energy costs as well. Here are four of our best tips to help ensure you get the most out of your home solar panels things year. Keep Them Clean This can sound like a very simple feat. However, keeping up with regular maintenance can sometimes be tricky. When it comes to your solar panels, they need to remain clean to work effectively. When debris gets stuck on top of the solar panels, it can prevent them from in-taking the UV light. This will make your panels less effective at manufacturing solar energy. Cut Down Shading Branches For your solar panels to work at their optimal state, you need to have them in the direct sunlight. When your trees mature, the branches will grow further out, and they can create shading over the panels. You should take a look at your shrubbery every few weeks and trim any branches that are shading your panels. This will help to assure they stay effective throughout the day. Ensure They Stay Cool Your solar panels have semiconductors inside of them that transfer the UV rays into usable solar energy. As the semiconductors heat up, they become less efficient at their job. Therefore, it’s important to consider ways to keep your solar panels cool throughout the day. The most effective is to have at least a seven-inch cushion between your roof and the panels. This allows for proper circulation that cools down the panels throughout the daytime. Ensure Your Batteries Are Efficient You can do everything possible to make your solar panels as efficient as can be. However, you must consider where the energy is going. Your system doesn’t use all the solar energy as it’s created by your solar panels. Rather, your system stores unused energy in batteries. If your batteries are outdated or ineffective, it can really wreak havoc on the amount of solar energy that your system maintains for your use. You should be updating your batteries and ensuring they’re just as optimal as your system to get the most out of it. Installing solar panels is a great first step towards being greener. Getting your system to run effectively should be one of your top concerns. The more effective your system is, the less you’ll have to spend on energy costs each month.
  6. There has been a lot of discussion about the climate in recent years, and there is no doubt that doing everything you can to conserve the resources of the planet is the right move. Is it worth it to make the exterior of your home eco-friendly? Yes, it is. It will not only save you a lot of money but will also allow you to contribute towards making this world a better place. Moreover, you can take the opportunity to apply architectural designs that enhance the beauty of your home. The following four tips will help you make your home environmentally friendly. Go for Green Materials There is no better way to make the exterior of your home environmental friendly than by using green materials. What are green materials? These are materials that are, for the most part, renewable. Examples of these are recycled and reclaimed wood. Normally, they are cheap, not toxic, and can be used to conserve energy. You can use these materials to create a deck for your home. There is no better way to spend an evening than feeling the soft breeze of the summer as you admire the wonders of nature in your backyard made from materials that are in harmony with the planet. Upgrade Your Energy System Few things are as eco-friendly as a solar power system. The addition of solar panels to your home will not only allow you to energize every bit of it with a renewable source of energy but also save you a ton of cash on your electricity bill. Of course, while the cost of solar panels have dropped over the years, they can still be a bit pricey. If they are out of your price range, you can opt for energy-efficient lights such as LEDs that emit less heat and reduce the consumption of electricity in your home. Create Natural Soil Why spend money on mulch when you can make your own. Select a small area in your backyard to make a compost pile from food scraps and dead leaves. Turn it often, mix, and after a few months, the components will become a nutrient-rich dark soil mixture. This can be used to grow any vegetation that you want to have in your garden, which will add extra oxygen to the planet. Implement a New Water System Keeping a luscious garden can be more expensive than you think. Instead of using a sprinkler or water hose, you can reclaim the water with a drainage system that takes rainwater from the roof and deliver it to your lawn or backyard. This allows you to enjoy abundant vegetation without an exorbitant water bill. You may also use septic tanks that prevent contaminants in the wastewater from leaking to groundwater. There are endless ways to make your home eco-friendly. Using green materials, upgrading your power, making natural soil, and implementing a new water system are a few approaches you can use to save your hard-earned cash, conserve the planet, and remodel your home. Apply at least one of the strategies discussed and show everybody you know the benefits of going green.
  7. Going green has become a major focus for homeowners. Not only does going green decrease your carbon footprint, but it also saves you green (as in dollars). Below are four ways that today’s modern homeowner can help make their home more eco-friendly. Get an Energy Audit By now, nearly every energy provider offers a free home energy audit. If you haven’t had one yet, call your energy provider and they will send someone out to check your power use, AC service and advise you on how to go green and save energy. Go Native with Your Landscaping One of the latest trends in going green is native landscaping. This type of landscaping is tailored to the natural climate rather than the cookie-cutter style of landscaping reminiscent of the ‘50s. This helps homeowners go green by using little to no pesticides, cultivating the natural foliage, relying mostly on natural rainfall rather than consistently using a sprinkler, and allowing natural plants and flowers to thrive. Water is a precious resource, especially in drier climates, and natural landscaping is an excellent way to go green. Consider Solar Panels While solar panels may not be feasible for every homeowner (depending on the roof layout) it is one of the best ways to go green in your home. Yes, it is an investment. However, you’d be blown away at how much money you can save as well as how much energy. If you’re curious about solar panels, Google has created an ingenious way to check your roof for how many sunlight hours your home received per year called project sunroof. Enter your address and check it out! Get Smart (Home Tech) One of the biggest ways you can decrease your carbon footprint is by letting the latest technology do it for you. Sure, leaving the bathroom light on now and then may not seem like a big deal, but it does solidly increase the size of your home’s carbon footprint (not to mention your energy bill). Smart home tech is specifically designed to help you go green, including turning off lights, controlling the heat and AC, and turning off TVs and radios. Investing in this tech will help you go green and save some green on your energy bill. Going green as a homeowner isn’t just about saving money, it’s about doing your part to be a responsible homeowner and lowering your home’s personal carbon footprint. If every homeowner did their part to be more eco-friendly and have a greener home, imagine the difference that could be made in the overall environment!
  8. Perhaps the most important factor in choosing the insulation for your new home is its ability to reduce energy costs. In the winter, insulation should keep warm air in, and in the summer, it should keep hot air out. Choosing the right insulation can reduce your energy bill by as much as 30 percent. For decades, most homes were constructed using fiberglass insulation; however, fiberglass can cause many health issues. Whether you’re building a new home or remodeling, consider an eco-friendly insulation alternative to make your home both comfortable and safe. Consider removing your ceiling insulation and replacing it with one of the following upgraded, eco-friendly options. Recycled Cotton Since cotton is both natural and a renewable resource, it’s among the most eco-friendly insulation options. Scraps from old blue jeans and other used clothing are shredded and produced into heavy batts that fit between your wall studs just like fiberglass insulation. To make cotton insulation non-flammable, it’s treated with a borate solution. Cotton does not contain harmful formaldehyde and does not cause respiratory problems. Likewise, cotton insulation is a natural insect repellent. Cork This option is made from the outer bark of cork trees. It’s free of toxins, renewable, biodegradable, and recyclable. It also helps to deaden noise. Cork is among the most versatile materials, and can be used for a wide variety of products. Although cork has been used for more than a century as a building material, it’s eco-friendly value has only recently become widely known. Cellulose Cellulose insulation is made from recycled paper; it’s toxin-free and safe to install. Modern cellulose insulation is often made from recycled newspaper with an added fire retardant, made from a combination of ammonium sulfate and borate. The insulating performance of loose cellulose insulation compares well to other types of affordable insulation. Sheep’s Wool Sheep’s wool is a natural fire retardant, and in recent years, the insulating qualities of sheep’s wool have been applied to home construction. The wool fiber’s outer layers are water-resistant while the inner layers absorb moisture. This insulates your home while preventing condensation within the walls. When you insulate with sheep’s wool, you will save both energy and money in the long run. There is no right or wrong choice when it comes to green options for insulating your home. Just do your own research, weighing the pros and cons of each type of insulation to find the one that works best for your home.
  9. Your home’s features and condition play a major role on the impact you make on the planet. Many people assume that they need to make huge, expensive home improvements to create a green living environment. While installing solar panels and a rainwater collection and purification system are some of the many expensive projects that you could invest in, proper home maintenance can have a beneficial impact as well. These are some of the maintenance tasks to complete regularly to create a greener home environment. Schedule HVAC Service Regularly Living without an HVAC service would be miserable for most people. While this system understandably uses a significant amount of energy, it may currently be using more than it needs to. For example, when the system is dirty or developing signs of damage, the equipment may run more frequently or for longer periods of time than it otherwise would. This directly wastes energy and creates pollution in the process. When you schedule regular HVAC maintenance service, the components will be clean so that the system can work efficiently. In addition, developing repair issues can be identified and addressed quickly before they become major issues. Maintain Your Plumbing Features Fresh water is in short supply, so water conservation is a primary concern. In some homes, hidden water leaks waste tons of water before they are identified and repaired. In other homes, a huge leak spews hundreds of gallons of water or more into the home in a very short period of time. While not all leaks can be prevented, you can take steps to prevent some of these issues. For example, you can reduce your water pressure to minimize strain on the pipes. You can also invest in a water softener and reinforce pipe joints. Re-Seal Doors and Windows Periodically Energy loss also occurs through damaged window and door seals. These seals tend to deteriorate rapidly, and they may need to be replaced at least once per year. By doing so, you can keep climate-controlled air in the home and help your HVAC system to work more efficiently. You may also consider installing solar film over your windows for additional benefit. Each of these maintenance tasks should be included in your regular home care schedule. However, it is easy to overlook or delay working on them. Now that you know that they affect your property’s condition as well as your impact on the environment, you can see that these tasks deserve your regular attention.
  10. Going green is a concept that we can all get on board with. However, it can seem difficult to know what practices to do other than your traditional recycling instead of throwing items in the trash. In today’s short article, we’re going to discuss some small eco-friendly changes you can make to your daily living that will have a large impact on the going green initiative. Use Ecological Home Services If you’re a homeowner, it’s likely that you use home service providers for various issues or improvements you want to make to your home. When considering who to hire, you should look into those who practice eco-friendly methods. For example, hire an ecological pest control service that only uses environmentally-friendly treatment methods. This can help to keep pesticides out of your home. It will also ensure that your family doesn’t have any negative reactions to harmful treatment pesticides that other home servicers use. Use Canvas Bags at the Grocery Store We’ve all seen those plastic grocery store bags blowing around in the wind as people tend to not dispose of these bags correctly. When you use canvas bags, you can help to cut done on the number of plastic grocery store bags being produced. In fact, the more people who bring their own canvas bags to the grocery store, the less plastic bags the store will order. These bags carry their own advantages as well. For example, they’re much sturdier than those plastic bags, which makes them great for carrying canned goods and other heavy items. These bags can be used for trips other than to the grocery store as well. Use CFL Light Bulbs Instead of Incandescent As your existing light bulbs die out, it’s time to switch them out for CFL light bulbs. These actually have two main benefits for you. The first is that they last up to 5 years longer than incandescent bulbs. Also, they utilize 70 percent less electricity when running. This is a major difference that can do wonders when it comes to your electric bill. Just imagine how much energy you could save when all the light bulbs in your home are running on 70 percent less power. Going eco-friendly isn’t really a hard thing to do. The difficult part is just understanding the small differences you can do each and every day that translates to the biggest impact. The above are three great ways to get started on your new eco-friendly lifestyle habits.
  11. If you’re looking to save money and energy, small home improvements can help a lot. Choosing to upgrade your home to make it more energy efficient can help you save on your heating and cooling costs. It may even increase the value of your home. Here are the three most important updates to make to ensure your home is as energy efficient as possible. Replace Your Appliances This is probably a more expensive route, but ensuring your home has energy efficient appliances is a good first step. You can start by replacing your old appliances with energy efficient ones when they die. In addition to appliances like dishwashers and refrigerators, heating and cooling systems in homes that are over 15 years old may be in need of an upgrade. While you’re upgrading appliances, you may want to think about a programmable thermostat. This can allow you to regulate the temperature within your home, whether you are there or not. Add Insulation You’ll need to decide if the amount of insulation that’s currently in your home is acceptable for the climate you live in or for your personal needs. If your home is poorly insulated, adding an extra layer of insulation can help keep heat inside in the winter or cool down your home in the summer. All this leads to savings in your heating and cooling bills. Replace or Repair Garage Doors The garage is one room in your home that typically isn’t insulated very well. Rooms that are attached to or above the garage can suffer as a result. While you could add some layers of insulation to your garage, if you have garage doors that are not energy efficient, the air will enter through the cracks. This leaves the entire wall your garage doors are on without insulation. Installing or repairing garage doors to ensure they are insulated will ensure your home is more efficient, increase home value, and help regulate the temperature within your home. Energy efficiency in your home is important in ensuring you’re comfortable and not shelling out hundreds of dollars per month in heating and cooling costs. Following these tips will ensure that hot and cold air don’t just escape your home. If you’re not sure where to start with energy efficient home improvements, be sure to consult with a professional contractor. They’ll be able to help you determine what you can do to make your home more efficient and how you should execute the upgrades.
  12. When spring arrives, a new growing season begins. This is a time when you expect your yard’s dormant vegetation to become rejuvenated. Unfortunately, many people are dismayed to realize that their lawn is not as green and healthy as they hoped. If your lawn is patchy, has brown spots or is showing other signs of trouble, you may use some of these tips to revive your lawn and to get the curb appeal that you desire. Kill the Weeds With warm spring temperatures and hydrating rain showers, weeds that were dormant all winter will sprout up quickly. Weeds will crowd out your grass. Eventually, you may have a yard full of weeds rather than healthy grass. You may also have brown or bare spots as a result. There are a few different ways to get rid of weeds. You can pull the weeds out by hand. You can also apply various products to the lawn. For example, some broadleaf weed killers will kill the weeds and not the grass. You may decide to kill all vegetation by applying various household products to the soil. This will give you a blank slate to plant new grass. Aerate the Soil If your lawn is looking generally unhealthy, the reason may be because of compacted soil. Soil has a tendency to become more compact over time because of various weather conditions. When it is firmly compacted, water and fresh air will not be able to reach the plant roots as easily. Professional aeration can loosen the soil and ensure that vegetation roots have access to the fresh air and water that they need for optimal health. Plant Grass Seed or Plugs Regardless of whether you have decided to start from scratch and use lawn installation services for a brand-new lawn or you simply want to fill in some patches of dirt, bringing new grass into your space may be necessary. To determine the right approach, consider your budget as well as the current state of your lawn. It makes sense to kill weeds and prepare the soil through aeration and even fertilization before planting new grass seed or plugs. After you take these steps, remember that regular yard maintenance is required to nurture your lawn back to health and to maintain it in a healthy state. This includes regular mowing and edging, watering and fertilization. If you continue to struggle to achieve the beautiful curb appeal that you desire, using professional lawn care services is an excellent idea.
  13. Living greener can benefit both you and the environment. One of the best ways to adopt an eco-friendlier lifestyle is by making some modifications around your home that will be better for the ecosystem. Here are four tips to turn your home into a safer setting for the planet. Various appliance and utility options will save you long-run costs, make your home more sustainable to maintain, and help the environment. Here are just four options to get you started on improving your home. Switch to an Energy-Efficient HVAC System Some of the best heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to be developed in recent years are designed specifically to save energy. The standards for energy efficiency in HVAC systems in general have been raised, making more modern systems more cost effective and more environmentally friendly. Even with the reduction in energy use, your home’s indoor temperatures and air quality will still be regulated properly with the right system. Many of the top-rated HVAC systems nowadays feature programmable thermostats that can be set to turn on and shut off automatically instead of running continuously and wasting energy. Build with Recyclable Materials If you’re looking for additions to your home or trying to build a new home from scratch, using recyclable materials will put less strain on the planet’s natural resources. CBS News reports that certain homes are made from bricks that consist of glass, clay, and ceramics. Some of the remnants from demolished houses can also be salvaged and used to construct a new home. Recycled steel for the supports are both affordable and eco-friendly, and recycled timber can be used for new floors, cabinets, ceilings, and anywhere that new timber could be used. These recycled materials often are more durable, as well, making them both cheaper to buy and cheaper to maintain, as well as being more environmentally friendly. Install a Domestic Sewage System Human waste that travels through your pipes into a public sewage system may end up being untreated and released into local rivers or lakes or the ocean. To prevent this problem, you can have a domestic treatment tank installed on your property. For domestic use, miniature sewage system plants are installed underground on your property, safely treating and disposing of your home’s wastes. They are cost-effective, as well, as you only need them cleaned every 3-5 years, and otherwise are their own little ecosystem, using natural bacteria to maintain themselves. Use Native Plants to Decorate Your Yard As lawns and gardens are becoming more lavish, more foreign plants are being introduced to environments that they are either ill-suited to or else could dominate. Seeds from non-native plants can spread to the local environment and create harmful competition for the natural plant life in the area. Not only are native plants safer for the surrounding ecosystem, but they also won’t need as many resources to survive, as they are able to draw from the natural environment around them. Native plants are also likelier to have adapted to surviving local pest infestations and won’t require the use of as many pesticides. Overall, using plants that are native to your area is more cost effective and safer for the surrounding ecosystem than bringing in foreign plants. While not all aspects of maintaining the environment can be controlled by individual homeowners, there are some small decisions in the construction and maintenance of your home that can majorly impact the environment for better or worse. With the right modifications, you’ll be able to turn your home into a setting that helps promote more longevity for the earth and your family.
  14. Living in a beautiful historic home may be a dream come true, but this type of living experience can be stressful, expensive and inconvenient in specific ways. For example, unless the home has been recently and thoroughly renovated, it may be generating waste in various ways. This waste may result in higher expenses, environmental concerns and other issues that you understandably want to avoid as much as possible. These are some of the many steps that you may take to reduce waste in your historic home. Schedule HVAC Maintenance Service Maintaining a desirable climate indoors in an older home can consume much more energy than may be required in a newer home with an equivalent size. This can place a considerable amount of strain on your heating and cooling system. Over time, this additional strain may result in equipment damage that creates additional inefficiency. A smart idea is to schedule AC and heating system maintenance annually to erase signs of wear and tear for optimal efficiency. This may reduce energy bills and decrease the environmental impact. Reseal the Doors and Windows Regardless of whether you live in an older or a newer home, seals around doors and windows can deteriorate rapidly. In fact, most homes need new seals every year or two. If you have not resealed your home’s doors and windows recently, now may be the time to do so. In addition to eliminating unnecessary energy waste, it can help you to stay more comfortable indoors by eliminating drafts. This is a simple and affordable project that you may be able to complete on your own. Upgrade the Insulation Another smart way to reduce energy waste and to improve your home’s interior environment is to upgrade insulation. Over time, insulation may deteriorate. It may also become damaged by pests, exposure to water from plumbing leaks and more. Furthermore, insulation that was installed many years ago may not be as effective as new types on the market today. This is a smart, cost-effective to modernize your historic home without impacting its character at all. The charm of a historic home resides in its layout, architectural detail and even quality materials. While you understandably want to modernize your home so that you can reduce or eliminate unnecessary waste, you do not want to impact its gorgeous design elements. Each of these tips may help you to improve your historic home dramatically. However, you should review your home to assess its specific and most pertinent needs before acting.
  15. If you are like most people, your annual home energy cost amounts to a small fortune. However, this is seemingly a necessary expense that you have minimal control over. By taking a closer look at how you use energy at home and how this energy is generated, you may dramatically reduce energy costs on a regular basis. In fact, you may even be able to generate a profit from home energy generation rather than continue to pay expensive utility bills. Reduce Energy Consumption Dramatically The first step to take if you want to improve home energy consumption is to alter how it is used. You can make a few behavioral adjustments, such as by turning all lights off when they are not in use and unplugging appliances and electronics when they are not needed. You can also reduce energy consumption at home by upgrading to a new HVAC system and major appliances that have improved energy efficiency ratings. To promote HVAC system efficiency further, schedule energy-efficient door and window installation services, re-seal doors and windows and upgrade insulation throughout the walls and ceiling. These steps require a substantial financial investment, but the net impact on your finances over time may be positive. Produce Your Own Green Energy When you follow these steps to reduce energy consumption, you may still be responsible for regular energy bills. To potentially eliminate energy costs going forward, produce your own green energy. Solar energy panels are among the most common ideas, but there are other ideas. For example, wind and geothermal energy may be well-suited for your home as well. Because you may have already taken steps to reduce energy consumption, the home-produced energy may completely cover all of your needs at home. This can eliminate the need to pay an energy bill regularly. Your home may produce so much energy that you are able to sell energy to the local utility provider. By doing so, you can actually receive a small amount of income regularly rather than pay a monthly bill. You could continue to struggle with high energy costs for years to come, or you can take action to address this problem directly. While it may require a large financial investment to accomplish each goal outlined here, you will notice that each small step that you take has a positive effect on energy consumption and expenses. Now is a great time to take your first steps to improve your home in these thoughtful ways.
  16. Making green home improvements makes a lot of sense from a health, comfort and financial perspective. With an increasing emphasis on minimizing the climate crisis and making homes as healthy as possible, homeowners and builders are focusing on increasing the number of features that save energy and promote healthier living. They Appreciate Faster While the rate of appreciation for a home’s highly variable, all other things being equal, a green home will appreciate faster than a less energy efficient unit. There are a number of reasons for higher appreciation. Homes with higher efficiency are in greater demand, which is the primary force behind home appreciation. They also have lower energy bills, something that ranks high with many home buyers. If you live in a neighborhood of older homes and you want to increase the value of your home, make improvements to the insulation, particularly in the attic. If the HVAC system is old, chances are your heating and cooling bills are high. Installing a new one will add value to your home and lowers your heating and cooling costs. You and your financial consultant can explore how important faster home appreciation is. If you don’t have a consultant, you can search something like ‘NJ individual wealth management’ for your area to find one. Your home is probably your most important asset and when it increases in value faster, so does your net worth. Green Homes Are Healthier Indoor air quality (IAQ) is an important part of achieving a green home and the easiest way to achieve good IAQ is by using products that don’t emit harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These gases cause physical symptoms from mild to serious like headaches and sore throats to cancer or neurological system disorders. There’s a long list of materials used in daily life and for home construction and remodeling that contain VOCs. Fortunately, it’s getting easier to find alternatives that keep IAQ high. Look for remodeling products labeled as low in VOCs or are VOC-free. Some carry clean air labels, like paint and flooring products. It’s getting easier to find household products that have no to few VOCs. Look for natural cleaners, products without perfumes and candles made from beeswax or soy. Avoid anything made from paraffin. Some Green home upgrades run at a higher cost than their less environmentally friendly counterparts, so make sure you factor that into your budget. While there is no price you can place on health, you still need to budget well to afford these upgrades. As mentioned above, a financial service provider like rmrwealth.com can be very helpful when planning and executing home improvements. Ventilation Homes that have high IAQ may have balanced ventilation systems that pull in as much fresh air as they exhaust. The U.S. EPA has found that indoor air can be much more polluted than the worst outdoor air. The greenest products used for ventilation are heat and energy recovery ventilators. These devices transfer the thermal energy from the outgoing air into the incoming air, which eliminates the cost of heating or cooling outdoor air. Bottom Line Anything you can do to make your home greener in the short and long term helps your financial and personal health. You can start by doing something as easy as changing the cleaning products you buy or as challenging as making major improvements to its structure. Whatever it is, it will better your life by making it more comfortable.
  17. A good well is a priceless part of off-the-grid living, and maintaining one can be surprisingly easy. However, first-time well owners may find that there is a bit of a learning curve. Unfortunately, mistakes can be costly if they damage the well or cause contamination. Here are three simple ways to avoid those troubles and keep your well running smoothly. Keep An Eye On The Calendar Regular water testing is an important part of maintaining a healthy well. In most places, an annual test for bacteria and other contaminants is enough. Check with your local health department when working out a maintenance schedule, however, because some areas may have specific risks that require more frequent testing. During this annual check, it’s also a good idea to give your system a routine flush with chlorine as a preventative measure, as well as checking the flow rate to make sure your system is working as well as possible. Watch For Changes Most of the time, wells run just fine with just a little preventative maintenance. However, even properly maintained wells can develop contamination issues for reasons ranging from failing equipment to flooding from major storms. If you notice any changes in your water quality, schedule another water test immediately, and consider drinking bottled water while you wait for the results. These changes can include cloudy or discolored water, new odors or a strange taste. Changes in the rate of the water flow can also be a sign of trouble. Pumps may become sluggish or inefficient before they break down completely, or a broken pipe may be causing you to lose water pressure without totally disabling the system. Know When To Call The Professionals The average homeowner can handle some minor maintenance, but for most issues it’s best to call in qualified professionals, like those at Taylor Heating Inc. Wells are more complicated than they seem, so a problem that would be minor and easy to fix for an experienced technician may turn into a major headache for a homeowner. Inexperienced people also may accidentally introduce dangerous bacteria into the system while doing something as simple as removing the well cap. Wells are a major investment, so it’s important to take the time to keep yours running smoothly. Preventative maintenance may seem like an unnecessary expense, but it can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. By scheduling routine testing and treatments, addressing any potential problems and finding qualified professionals to work with, your well can last a lifetime.
  18. The roof protects your home interiors from snow, wind, hail, storm, rain and sun. It also ensures that heat from either the outside or inside does not leak to either side. If the roof is energy-inefficient, it may be costing hundreds of dollars in heating and cooling costs. Here are factors of your roof that may impact on the energy efficiency of your home. The Level of Insulation Ideally, energy efficiency is ensuring that the temperature out there does not affect the indoor temperature. One of the areas where outdoor temperature may influence your indoor temperature is the roof. The insulation levels in your attic determine whether the house losses some of the cool air during summer or gets cold during summer. Inspect the attic insulation regularly. Install additional insulation when necessary. Quality insulation also protects the roof from damage due to condensation in the attic. Ventilation Your roof requires some ventilation to offload the excess heat that may be hidden in the attic. During the cold weather, the trapped heat in the attic may thaw the snow prematurely and create ice dams. Ice dams eventually become points of weakness and leakage on the roof. You may end up with expensive leak repairs or roof replacement. During the hot weather, trapped heat may make your cooling systems less efficient. Therefore, it costs you more to cool the house that you should. Moreover, poor ventilation may tap moisture under your roof and cause damage to the holding beans and the roof structure. Trapped moisture can lead to mildew growth and rust on your metallic fixtures. Color The color of the roof also affects the energy efficiency of your home. Dark-colored roofs usually absorb lots of heat during summer. They can heat up to over 150 F° in a hot summer. The extra heat is transmitted to the attic and other materials in your home. This increases the indoor temperature thereby raising the energy consumption of your air conditioning systems. You end up paying more to keep your house cool. Consider light-colored roofs or roofs made from light-reflecting materials. You can also seek the help of professional roof contractors such as Stevens Roofing Corporation to help determine best colors to reflect heat. This enhances your energy efficiency and keeps your home cooler. Cut your energy costs by improving the energy efficiency of your home starting with the roof. Install the right roofing when building or refurbishing the house. Check the above elements to lower your energy costs.
  19. Going green is both noble and mainstream in today’s market, but it might not necessarily be easy—or even have a positive impact on your environment. Fortunately you can take good steps with little need for concern and without causing further harm. Check out four ways to greenify your home with environmentally friendly measures below. Replenish Food and Water This goes beyond throwing recyclables in a green bin. Organic material, like banana peels and coffee grounds, give off the highly toxic methane when they decompose in landfills. Clean water is likewise lost when it’s flushed or used in cleaning. Consider converting that food into compost material for fertilizing your plants and garden. As for the water, recycling through treatment tanks like Econocycle systems render spent water clean again for home reuse. Try Solar Paneling If the initial cost isn’t a barrier, solar panels go a long way to save you money and supply clean energy to your home. Besides working from a completely sustainable and renewable source, panels operate with grids that store unused energy. Not only does this lower your bills, but it also reduces the carbon footprint left on the planet for roughly 30 years! You might not get much energy when the sun isn’t out, but solar panels are a great option on both the financial and environmental ends. Regulate Air Flow Whether it’s hot or cold outside, your air conditioning has a large effect on how much energy your home wastes. Cutting back on potential waste is simple, from sealing up any leaky holes to keeping filters clean, but there are more extensive options, as well. Installing an automatic thermostat to keep the temperature comfortable is one such route; buying a more energy-efficient AC unit is another. Buy Local Your farmer’s market can boost the local economy and provide access to homegrown natural or organic foods, but the benefits don’t stop there. You might decrease carbon emissions based on how far business owners would otherwise ship products, or you might help decrease packaging waste and production emissions. Chances are your hometown businesses want to keep their environment clean, too! When it comes to environmental consciousness, what’s most important is making good choices. It takes some commitment to do it well, but it isn’t difficult. With the four steps listed above, you will be well on your way to a cleaner, greener home.
  20. Image Source: Pexels The fall season is sometimes the best time of the year to make your home energy efficient. You usually don't need to use the air conditioner or the heating system as much as you do in the summer and winter. The season gives you an opportunity to explore the home to look for any cracks under the doors or near the windows that need to be sealed and any issues with the heating system that need to be repaired. Seal Air Escapes Walk around the home to see if there are any areas where the heat or air might escape. Common areas are underneath doors, around windows and even through electrical sockets. It won't cost a lot of money to seal these areas that allow cold air into the home while you're trying to keep the house heated. Consider using plastic on the windows and on screens in the doors to keep cold air from entering the home. If you can keep air from invading, then you won't need to use the heating system as often, which will save you money. Check The Electrical System Before you turn on the heating system, you need to check the filters and the vents. A professional company, like Universal Refrigeration, can come to the home to examine the electrical components of the heating or cooling system to ensure that they are working properly. You might want to remove the air conditioners from the windows as these can allow cold air to enter the home through the cracks that might be around the unit as it sits in the window. If your heating unit needs to be replaced, you need to find one that is energy efficient as this can save a significant amount of money on your utility bill. Keep It Cool If you're someone who doesn't need to stay hot in the fall or winter, turn the thermostat down a few degrees instead of keeping it set at a higher temperature. Before going to bed and if you leave the home for long periods are the best times to turn the thermostat down so that it's not running as much when no one is in the home. A programmable thermostat is an option if you want to install something that will automatically adjust at a certain time or at a certain temperature. Keeping your home at the right temperature can take some work. You want to ensure that it's comfortable without spending a lot of money at the same time. After examining the home, you can often make adjustments that will save you money and keep everyone warm or cool during the year.
  21. Over the past decade, people have gone from freely using resources to eventually coming to the realization that it is critical to work to conserve resources. With more and more information about the planet's dwindling resources and the increasingly frightening findings about the effects of climate change, most eco-conscious people commit to working toward finding new ways to make their property more environmentally friendly. “As you look around your own property, trying to think of ways to make a meaningful contribution to protecting the planet and trying to help its recovery, you will find plenty of ways to pitch in on the efforts while adding value to your property. Take a look at some of the ways we believe create a win for you and the planet.” - Brentwood Home - Natural Home Suppliers Wrap It All Up With Insulation One of the most effective, and often overlooked, improvements you can make to an aging home is to either add or replace insulation in your home. Don't forget to address window insulation issues by changing their insulation to double glazing. Take care of areas that feature wall and cavity loft space, which is where the outer wall is made of block or brick while the interior wall features concrete block or breeze block. When you fully insulate your home, you will reduce your winter heating bill, therefore reducing your yearly costs and helping reduce your energy usage. As a bonus, home buyers like you will appreciate buying a home that features quality insulation. Harness the Sun's Power With Solar Energy While a more initial expensive entry in our list, solar power pays off in less obvious ways at first, and it definitely pays off over time. Install solar panels on your home's roof to attract the sun's energy, capture it and use it for our property's individual energy supply. You will love the immediate energy savings while boosting your property value for future home buyers. An added bonus for installing solar panels includes, depending on your state, potential solar rebates and tax credits. It's Raining, It's Pouring, So Catch That Essential Resource and Use It If you live in a climate outside of the desert, chances are good that you see plenty of rainfall each year. You hear it streaming through your home's gutters, which flows away, not making any real impact. For a small cost, you can install water catchers to capture and rainwater, which you can store for later use in your garden or flowerbed, or you can simply use it to water houseplants. This small addition provides solid savings and is a wonderful feature future home buyers will appreciate.
  22. There are a number of different ways you can conserve energy in your home, but one of the most effective ways is to invest in Low-E windows and even different window treatments. Like many other energy conservation efforts, these changes require a bit of an investment upfront; however, the payoff down the road is well worth it. Low-E windows are an innovative product that just recently became available on the market while window treatments have always been an option for regulating the temperature of your home. Consider the benefits of these treatment options, and decide what works for you. Low-E GlassLow-E or Low-Emissive glass is a type of window glass that has been treated with a special coating to support energy conservation. The treatment is typically an invisible metal or metallic oxide coating that creates a surface that reflects heat but still allows light to pass through. To measure the energy efficiency of the window glass in your home, the heat that passes through is measured by the U-factor or ultraviolet light. The lower the U-factor is, the more energy-efficient the glass is. If too much of this ultraviolet heat enters your home, it heats it up and causes your air conditioning bill to go up. Conversely, Low-E glass reduces the heat lost through your windows during window. Loosing less heat means that you’ll pay less to keep your home warmer. To get the most out of your Low-E glass, you need to consider how the pains should be installed. If you live in a warmer climate, install the pane so that the Low-E coating is toward the outside of the window to block the sun. However, if you live in a colder climate, adjust the installation so that the Low-E coating is applied to the inside of the window and holds heat in. These installation techniques ensure that your windows will be as energy-efficient as possible. Window TreatmentsThere are additional options that can also contribute to the energy efficiency of your home. While most people consider window treatments and coverings strictly decorative, they can actually contribute a great deal to energy savings. As you consider your window treatments, be sure to carefully weight your options to select treatments that can reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. Some of the most effective custom window treatments include awnings, blinds, and draperies. Awnings can provide significant energy savings. Attached above south-facing windows, awnings can reduce solar heat gain by up to 65 percent. Used on west-facing windows, the gain reduction is roughly 77 percent. Consider installing an awning that covers one window or the entire side of your home to get the biggest benefit. Interior and exterior blinds are another great option for increasing energy efficiency. Interior blinds offer slightly less protection from heat loss; however, they reduce heat gain by nearly 45 percent. Use these systems to control light and ventilation and to block direct sunlight. Exterior blinds are also effective for reducing heat gain. You can manipulate this type of blind to block the amount of light flowing through to reduce additional heat. Draperies also offer protection against heat loss and gain. If this is a conservation effort you plan to implement, consider the type of fabric you select. Medium-colored draperies with a protective plastic backing can reduce heat gain by 33 percent and heat loss by up to 10 percent when drawn at the appropriate times. For maximum efficiency, attach the drapes so that they reach from ceiling to floor and overlap in the center. You may even consider attaching Velcro to the sides nearest the walls to create a seal. The type of windows you have as well as the window treatments you use can contribute significantly to the energy efficiency of your home. To reduce heat gain and loss, consider installing Low-E glass and selecting appropriate window treatment options for your area. Either way it will be an investment with a great payoff in the long run.
  23. In our modern day and age, people are more and more concerned about preserving the environment, and rightly so. There are plenty of scientific studies that suggest the planet is facing environmental challenges the likes of which it has never faced before. It has gotten to the point that going green is no longer seen as making a personal statement. It is now more about simply being a responsible person. Luckily, with the advance of technology, it has never been easier to be an environmentally friendly home owner. Solar Energy Solar panel technology has been around for quite some time now. It has never been more affordable than it is now, however. The benefits are pretty obvious to see. By switching out your power source from public energy plants which use up natural resources such as coal and oil, you substantially reduce your carbon footprint. Solar energy is not only incredibly easy to obtain, but it is also very cost effective in the long run. After all, the sun is free to use. So while the initial cost of solar panels can be scary for a lot of people, be assured that they will more than pay themselves off in due time. Of course, you don't have to go all-in on solar energy if don't want to or can't afford to. You may not be able to afford enough panels to power the whole home at first. If this is the case then you can still use solar panels to power parts of your house, while relying on conventional power for the rest of the spaces. It is still better than obtaining all of your energy the conventional way and can be upgraded when you have the ability. Water Efficient Plumbing I'm sure that you have seen the water efficient bathroom appliances when you go out to restaurants and other such public places. While the businesses generally say that they installed these appliances in order to be environmentally conscientious, we all know that all they really care about is the bottom line. Yet they still installed them. This should be taken as a cue that water efficient bathrooms are both cheaper and good for the environment. Nature-Friendly Gardens This one really only applies to people with yards, but since that represents a lot of people it is important to mention. Basically, fill up your yard with local plants instead of the standard (water depleting) grass. Not only is it environmentally friendly because you are using native plants that enrich the environment, but it also provides the house with unique curb appeal that everyone will appreciate. So the point is that making your house a little more eco-friendly is far from difficult. In fact, it has never been easier. If you are building your home, companies like Fischer Homes can often construct the home to work well with these green initiatives. So if you haven't already, consider making a few tweaks to your house in order to ensure that you are doing your part to preserve our environment.
  24. Real estate investment can cost a modest fortune for many people, and because of this, you understandably want to save money in every way possible. The U.S. government has created numerous tax breaks and other financial benefits for those who own green homes or who make green improvements to their homes within a specified tax year. Such benefits can help you to save a sizable chunk of change within the next year. If you are looking for ways to save on your home ownership expenses, consider these points. Green Energy Generation There are several ways to produce green energy in your own home. This ranges from solar and wind energy to the use of geothermal pumps and more. Many home energy production methods produce enough energy to entirely offset the home's energy needs on a regular basis. Generally, the IRS allows you to deduct at least a portion of the purchase of the equipment and the installation cost for many types of green energy systems. This can drastically offset the cost to get the system up and running, and you can then enjoy ongoing energy savings throughout your time in the house. HVAC Systems, Boilers and Furnaces Climate control is a serious matter for homeowners, and you understandably need to invest in new, energy-efficient equipment to keep your home’s indoor climate as comfortable as possible regardless of the weather conditions outside. If you invest in a new HVAC system, boiler or furnace that is sufficiently energy efficient to meet IRS standards, you may qualify for a deduction or tax credit. Typically, the credit or deduction applies to specific models and is based on the equipment and installation costs. Some equipment may also qualify for local grants for additional savings. Sealing the Home Everything from new insulation to new doors and windows are responsible for sealing the home. Such features can prevent the transfer of heat between the indoor and outdoor environments, and this can drastically reduce energy consumption related to climate control activities. Replacing insulation, doors, and windows with newer, energy-efficient models may qualify the home for a tax deduction or tax credit. The cost of insulation and materials may both be used to determine the amount of the credit or deduction. Living green is a great way to decrease your impact on the environment and to save money on energy costs in the process. Through these green home improvements, you may also be able to enjoy tax credits and deductions for additional savings. If you’re unsure what benefits you can get, realtors like those at Mark Fox Company can help you find out.
  25. Protecting the planet is a great goal, and everyone is doing just a little more to have a part in ensuring our planet will be here for future generations. While some changes are big and costly, in other ways you can go green with just a few small changes at home. Here are some small changes that can add up to big difference in your overall impact on the environment. 1. Learn to Unplug Everything, from your computer to your power tools, needs to be unplugged when not in use. Many homeowners do not realize that leaving appliances, electronics and other electrical devices plugged in actually uses energy, even when the device is not in use. Simply being plugged in causes a little bit of electricity to flow to the device then back into the home's circuits, and in that process some energy is lost. Make this easier by plugging most entertainment devices into one power strip, then switch off the group when you head to bed. 2. Adjust the Fridge Many homeowners have their refrigerators and freezers set too cold. Invest in a small fridge thermometer, and test the temperature. The fridge should be between 37 and 40 degrees, with the freezer between 0 and 5. If it's too cold, adjust the temperature higher and save money. 3. Bring Reusable Bags When you go shopping, bring your own cloth grocery sacks. Your grocery store may actually pay you a few cents for doing so, but the biggest reason to do this is to prevent more plastic bags from ending up in the landfill. Remember, plastic does not decompose, so you are putting everyone at risk when you throw out plastic bags. 4. Turn off the Tap Turn off the tap while brushing teeth. If you brush for two minutes and leave the tap running, your family can waste around 5 gallons of water a day. Turning it of is simple. The same is true for washing dishes. After filling the sink, turn off the tap while you scrub the dishes. Remember, it really is small changes that make a big difference when you're trying to go green. Make these changes, then enjoy the energy savings that come as a result!